Teach Your Child to Save

The proverb goes “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same can be said for children and money. 

When children learn how to value and respect money at a young age, they tend to make better financial decisions in the long run. Giving your children a hands-on approach to saving and spending can lead to a lifetime of financial respect. Here are some tips for teaching your children to save. 

Be the Role Model

Teaching and encouraging your children to save money is one thing. However, actions speak louder than words and by showing your children that you save too, it will speak volumes. Those little eyes are watching you and setting a good example will help hammer home the importance of saving. Show them when you transfer money into savings, pay for items in cash and explain why, etc.

Also, avoid showing your children bad money behaviors. For instance, do not get involved with impulse buys. Especially at the request of your children. Hold back to show them that money requires thoughtfulness.


Begin with Goals

A key to teaching your children how to save money is to differentiate between short term and long term savings. Show them how to save for a cheap toy versus saving up for a big piece of technology. The best part is that many banks have apps that can help visualize the savings account on a daily basis. Let your children explore the app and how it works.

Virtual Investing

In addition to the apps provided to you via your bank, there are also budgeting apps that could be age-appropriate for your children. They can learn how to save and see what happens when they spend. Some of these apps include:

Create Money-Related Games

Another great method of teaching children how to save and respect money is to create money-related games. These games can be simple and fun. Some examples include:

  • Spend and Sell: Creating a game where your children buy and sell items is a great, “real-world” scenario game to play. You can play restaurant or farmer’s market. Have your kids even make or bake real food. Then give them pretend money and real situations for them to explore. This is a great way for them to be comfortable with transactions, counting, and giving and receiving change.

  • Board games: Playing board games like Monopoly is another great strategy to teach kids the value of money. These games are a great visual representation of money and it can be very fun and competitive for the whole family.

  • Movie night: Bring the movies to your home by hosting a movie night, complete with concession. For this game, have your children create a menu that includes prices. It is a great opportunity to understand pricing and profit. You can get really involved by adding in signs, decorations, and having the kids make the food for the stand.

  • Hide and seek coins: Put your children on a treasure hunt and hide coins around your home. This will help release some energy and get your children excited for money. You can have your children compete to grab the most coins. At the end, have each player add up their winnings and crown a winner.

Call it Commission, Not Allowance

Have your children work for money, instead of being paid to breathe. Also, call it a commission instead of an allowance. Give each child a task list to complete with a price tag for each item. You can even add in extra credit for extra cash.

Explore More Resources

Additionally, there are resources to help your children with financial situations. These include:

  • Council for Economic Education (CEE) – A nationwide network that promotes economic literacy, CEE has resources for your children. They help with critical thinking as it relates to consumers, savings, investing and the workforce. 
  • Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy – This national company has the dedication to help kindergarteners through college-age youth with financial literacy. 
  • MoneySKILL – This is a free resource with interactive options of reality-based online learning with a focus on financial decision making. 

Final Thoughts

There are tons of ways to show your children how to save money and respect a savings account. There are simple games, budgeting apps and many goals you can create for your children. By investing time in money-related activities now, you can create good habits for your children’s future with regard to saving. 

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